Pallbearers carry the coffins of Togo national soccer team assistant coach Abalo Amelete, front, and media officer Stanislas Ocloo past an honor guard during a funeral procession at the Palais des Congres in Lome, Togo, Friday Jan. 15, 2010. (AP / Sunday Alamba).
An Angolan court convicted one man and acquitted another Wednesday in connection to a deadly attack on Togo’s national bus team during the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
The suspects’ lawyer, Jose Manuel, told AFP that Joao Antonio Puati was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment and Daniel Simba was acquitted for lack of evidence.
Puati, 42, a Congolese citizen, was sentenced to 24 years for murder, armed rebellion and attempted murder, according to a local radio report.
The two men, accused of “armed rebellion” had pleaded not guilty at their trial Dec. 16 in the province of Cabinda in Angola.
Puati’s lawyer reportedly will appeal the sentence.
The fatal attack took place on Jan. 8 while a bus carrying Togo’s football team was travelling from Congo to the disputed oil-rich northern province of Cabinda in Angola ahead of the 2010 African Cup of Nations.
It left three people dead, including two members of the Togolese delegation dead.
Nine others were also injured in the shooting, which was claimed by the separatist guerrilla movement Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC).
The incident almost forced the cancellation of the continent’s premier football competition.